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How long will my Air Plant live?

Great question, with a long waffly answer!  When your air plant is in the right place it will live for many years. Indeed, by the time it gets to you it is more than likely a couple of years old.  We regularly have anecdotal evidence of customer’s air plants living 20 or 30 years.  Personal experience of them living for over 15 years. (And a bit of experience of them lasting less than that!)  With good care and regular watering your plants should live a long and happy life.

Do Air Plants need watering?

Like all plants, air plants need access to water.  In their native habitat, Tillandsia take in water from rainfall, atmospheric moisture, coastal fog etc.  Air plants in the home need a little help, as most homes don’t have the required humidity and certainly lack the rainfall and coastal fog!  Tillandsia can be watered either by misting or soaking them.  For most species a light misting a couple of times a week or a fortnightly soak is plenty.  Our Air Plant Care page gives more detail.

Can I use tap water to water my Air Plants?

Rainwater is always best for air plants, and a number of other houseplants. Tap Water is ‘fine’, especially if you live in an area of Soft Water, they are not so keen on Hard Water, and the lime and calcium deposits start to block up the tiny pores in the leaves, essential for the plants to be able to take up water. So even though you are diligently watering your plant, it is not able to access the water. Using cooled, boiled water or bottled water (for posh air plants) is one way round this. Never use tap water if you have a water softener installed.

Do I need to feed Air Plants?
Like most plants, air plants will grow without specific feeding.  Like other plants though, if they’re given the right nutrients they do a lot better! If you are looking for them to get bigger, make clumps or offsets and flower then feeding is recommended. At our nursery we use Air Plant Fertiliser every two weeks through the Spring and Summer, and monthly in the Winter.
How can I display my Air Plants?

Air plants may be fixed to anything that doesn’t mind getting a light misting of water, wood and shells are great. However, they are just as happy to grow on their own, left on a shelf, hanging somewhere or resting in some other suitable container.

How can I fix my Air Plants to things?
If you want to attach your air plant to something the most common way is to use air plant fixative, an inert glue safe for plants. Or you can use Tilly Wire, floristry wire or clear thread. If using air plant fixative, use sparingly, taking care not to cover the base of the plant, and use Reindeer Moss to cover up any unsightly blobs of glue.
Can you propagate Air Plants?

Patience is a virtue, and you will certainly need to be patient if you are raising air plants from seed, as this can take up to 8 years! By far the easiest way to by ‘offsets’ or ‘Pups’. Once and air plant has flowered you may notice a small plant, or even plants, forming at the base. These continue to grow, attached to the mother, and may be safely removed when they are about one third, to half the size of the parent plant. Alternatively leave them in place to form an attractive clump, as they would in their natural environment.

Do Air Plants flower?
Yes, and some are even fragrant! Check our Most Wanted section for what is looking good if you are interested in flowering plants. Generally speaking the longer you have to wait for an air plant to flower, the longer lasting that flower is. Ionanthas flower every year, but it only lasts a few days, whilst Xerographica can take several years, but the resulting flower spike and bloom will last almost 12 months.
Can I use Air Plants in a Vivarium?
Air Plants are great in vivariums, to enhance it both visually and environmentally. We have several collections of plants that we recommend, and you will find these in Air Plant Collections.